It’s been exactly a year since we’ve been gone from Canada. That’s 4% (Annick) and 3% (François) of our lifetimes so far spent on this trip! We have had an absolutely priceless experience so far, having visited 96 cities and villages in 13 countries; taking planes, buses, boats, trains and hitching rides to our destinations. We learned a new language (Español), tasted hundreds of beers and thousands of dishes, seen different metal scenes and met some amazing people – with whom we have connected intensely. We have seen incredible poverty and extreme riches. We have already been transformed, and we keep on learning every day. Thanks to everyone who we’ve met on the road, that helped us and with whom we shared drinks and meals, and thanks to those who have been following us on this blog! But mostly, a million thanks to our families and friends who we miss greatly, and who have had the patience to wait for our return.
Our next plans will be to go to Malaysia, India (where we will play a gig!), Nepal and then Europe, where we will do a long CAUCHEMAR tour, playing in many different countries and at four festivals. More info on that when the time comes. We are projecting to come back to Canada, moving to our hometown of Ottawa in late summer, early fall 2012!
So, for now, we have written a list of our best and worst experiences so far, on our travels. Enjoy!
Most expensive hotel room: Tokyo, Japan – 60$ for two in a 4-bed dorm… and that was the cheapest in Tokyo!
Cheapest hotel room: Kampot, Cambodia – 4$ for two in a private room with showers and mosquitos
Best hostel(s): 1. Khaosan Kabuki Smile, Tokyo, Japan – well organized, beautiful and comfortable. 2. Luna Sonorisa, Valparaiso, Chile – quiet, and unlimited fresh goat cheese for breakfast! 3. Adventure Brew Hostel, Cuzco, Peru – free pisco sour classes, free pancakes for breakfast, and very comfortable bed.
Worst hostel: Mochilero’s Inn, Miraflores, Lima, Peru – Moldy room, dirty showers, and rip off staff!
Highest altitude: 5000 meters – in the Uyuni, Bolivia, national park. It felt like being a 90-year old
Hottest weather: 35 celcius, in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Coldest weather: -15 celcius in the Uyuni national park, Bolivia
Longest public transportation ride: 42 hours on a train – From Shanghai to Kunming, China
Best bus ride: Valparaiso to Valdivia, Chile. 12 hours on the second floor of a comfortable bus, with a dinner and a breakfast and a host that tucked us in for the night!
Worst bus ride: Cuzco to Lima – 24 hours with a dramatic Korean tv series dubbed in Spanish, playing on FULL BLAST!!!! …and Puno to Cuzco – 14 hours of vomiting for François while travelling in the Andes mountains
Best toilet: Kyoto, Japan – you get a full ass shower, including drying and a hot seat
Worst toilet: Kunming, China – A river of shit and low walls, forcing you to look at other people when you are taking a dump
Safest place visited: All of Japan! You could leave your bags in the streets and come back 5 hours and they will still be there.
Most dangerous place visited: Backstreets of Medellin at 3AM
Most mystical place visited: Inca trail and Macchu Picchu, Peru
Most chaotic city visited: Hanoi, Vietnam – motorcycles, honking, no street lights, annoying street sellers..
Best live bands seen: Voltax (Mexico), Witchtrap (Colombia), Condenados (Chile), Metal Grave (Chile), Axe Battler (Chile), Reino Ermitaño (Peru), Cobra (Peru), Accept (Ger – seen in Bolivia), Sigh (Japan – seen in China) and Darge (Japan – seen in Korea)
Worst live bands: A bunch of shit cover bands seen in Mexico city. They played the same songs (Smoke on the Water, Led Zeppelin songs, etc…) and one of the bands’ vocalist was reading the lyrics. It sounded like a failed high school party.
Best metal scenes: Medellin (Colombia), Santiago (Chile), Lima (Peru) and Bangkok (Thailand)
Country with the best metal shops: Japan, by far! Never seen so many metal records in one shop. Took hours to go through them!
Country with the worst metal shops: Bolivia. Most stores were 5% real CD’s and 95% bootlegs. You couldn’t find anything. Also, Lao, Vietnam and Cambodia… as there are no metal scenes there at all, haha!
Best metal bar: Crypto, Lima, Peru – Spent many nights drinking their cheap beer, and headbanging to Judas Priest!
Worst metal bar: Immortal bar, Chiang Mai, Thailand – The bar took the name from Norwegians IMMORTAL but had only some basic “classic rock” and nu metal. No Motörhead, no Priest… therefore, no fun! They were playing Bob Dylan when we were there.
Best traditional music: Peru (from the Andes)
Worst music: Bolivian pop or Cambodian wedding music… both have terrible singers!
Best seafood: Lima, Peru – best place for ceviche and …sushi!
Best meat: Seoul, South Korea. The BBQ’ed steak we had gave me a mouth orgasm!
Best street food: Bolivia (Salteñas, pasteles de queso + api, humintas) and Mexico (everything!!!)
Worst meal: François: Liver Soup, Suzhou, China; Annick: raw piure (some kind of sea water dwelling crustacean creature) in Temuco, Chile
Cheapest meal: 1$ for two for beef satay skewers with cabbage salad and dessert, Kampot, Cambodia
Most expensive meal: 40$ for 4 pieces of fatty tuna Nigiri sushi, Tokyo, Japan
Best beer: Kunstmann beer, Valdivia, Chile
Worst beer: No particular brands, but the beers in Colombia were pretty tasteless
Cheapest beer: 50 cents in Cambodian bars for an ice cold, draft beer
Most expensive beer: 9$ in a Tokyo metal bar for 250 ml draft
Worst hangover: Seoul, Korea – after eating BBQ and drinking for 6 hours. My liver is still shaken up by this one.
Best trend: Poutine in Thailand, we found it in three different places!
Worst trend: Nerd glasses with no lenses, Japan and Korea
Best massage: Fang, Thailand – It was like getting high on yourself!
Cheapest massage: Fang, Thailand – 4.50$ for two hours!!
Most epic moment: Myself getting a haircut from the master, Gezol from SABBAT!
Worst post/mail system: Medellin, Colombia – 30$ for sending a small pot of spreadable caramel to Canada (for my dad’s birthday). On top of it, the Colombian inspection office opened the package (including the protective foil) and removed completely the birthday card. So my dad received an opened pot of caramel spread hahaha!
And here is a photo of our backpacks, you can compare them with how beautiful they were HERE!
So now, we are currently on the Island of Koh Phi Phi, in the South of Thailand. You haven’t heard from us for a while because we haven’t had regular Internet access since almost half a month! Expect a huge update (and replies to e-mails) when we arrive in Malaysia, on the 12th.